The idea behind this hat is to enable people who are hard of hearing, to get some form of sound detection without having to wear a hearing aid or cochlear implant. The initial design was to be done in a headband form, as if it were something you could out on quickly after a shower, or if you were to get out of bed to grab a cup of water. This aims to solve the problem of notifying someone who is hard of hearing where sound is coming from. A common problem I have faced is getting the attention of someone who communicates via sign language from a distance, because if they can't hear you won't be able to notify them to turn around to use sign language with you. This headpiece aims to solve that problem.
One of the primary places of use for this device would be on a dormatory floor, a place where someone might commonly be out of the element or in a siutation where they wouldn't have a hearing aid in, like coming out of the shower. The headpiece would provide just enough awareness that sound sources could be tracked down and looked at, as the headset buzzes in the direction of the sound.
You can view the code on github.
The design of the device has 3 adafruit simple microphones that give basic sound detection funcitonality. Theree of these(in a larger design I would use 5) are wired into the analog inputs of an arduino. In this case I used an Arduino Micro. Then, utilizing a shift register, up to 8 vibrarting motion discs can be controlled. In my implementation I utilized only 3 to minimize sewing and to match the number of microphones.
This is an example of what the vibration discs look like inside of the hat. As well as how the microphone is mounted inside the foldable rim to make it easier to work with on the prototype.
I was able to test the prototype as well and did indeed wear it. I should have wired it using floppy wire, or by repurposing a network cable. I had an issue where my wires were stuff and I had to constantly worry if the connections were going to pop out. I attempted to do the connections with conductive thread but the thread was too long and caused problems with the ammount of power and resisiteance that was going to the discs.